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I've avoided stepping into this particular discussion (and probably will
regret doing so now) but it looks to me like it might be time to try to
close the issue, for now at least.  Let me toss out the following
suggestions to see if they are acceptable to everyone:

1. It is allowable for a Common Lisp system to signal an error on probef
if the file name is malformed in some way, or if the file is not found
for other than the usual reasons.

2. Implementations that don't want to handle this with an error, perhaps
because they lack an error-handling system of sufficient power, can for
now do something compatible but non-portable about this, such as taking
a special keyword or returning an extra value describing what went

3. We should try again for a clean, fully portable solution to this
problem after we have reached some consensus on a standard
signal/error-handling system.  At that point, we'll be able to see much
more clearly whether this is a good way to deal with this sort of

-- Scott